Fish such as sardines, salmon, and herring are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for everyone’s health. But instead of fish, millions eat a diet of meats high in fat, which can cause cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Millions more do not eat enough fish to stay healthy and some people are allergic to fish. In addition, there is a danger, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), of consuming too much mercury found in older and larger predatory fish such as tilefish, swordfish, or king mackerel.
As an alternative to eating fish, there are fish oil or krill oil supplements and both are good. But, despite their similarities, there are several differences that make krill supplements more advantageous than fish oil.
Krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans and are found in all the oceans, but are particularly abundant as Antarctic krill. Krill are eaten by seals and whales; fish oil comes primarily from fatty fish. Both krill oil and fish oil provide omega-e fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are building blocks for the brain and they improve heart health.
The fatty acids in fish oil are in the form of triglycerides and in krill oil, they are in phospholipids, which is what makes them more readily absorbed and which allows the body to use the fatty acids more effectively.
Krill oil has astaxanthin, which gives it a red color found in fish such as salmon. Astaxanthin, however, is not found in most fish oils. Astaxanthin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are good for your heart and joints, protect against autoimmune disorders, promote healthy skin, reduce fatigue, and manage cholesterol levels. It is thought that astaxanthin also protects krill oil from oxidation.
In June 2012, Consumer Reports reported a study at the University Health Network in Toronto found krill oil helped people by reducing the symptoms of arthritis, such as stiffness and inflammation.
Both fish oil and krill oil are good for your heart but krill oil is more effective at lowering blood sugar and “bad” LDL cholesterol. Krill oil supplements are generally smaller than fish oil supplements are easier to swallow. In addition, it is possible that fish oils contain more mercury than krill oil because fish oil typically comes from very large fish that have high levels of mercury.
Keep in mind, however, that both fish oil and krill oil can affect blood clothing for those who take blood-thinning medication or have a blood disorder. Those with fish or shellfish allergies need to be careful and need to talk to their health care providers. It is possible that krill oil will interact with some drugs or aspirin.
The side effects of krill oil, if they occur at all, are less common than with fish oil and they are mild. They include “fishy burps,” mild gastrointestinal symptoms, soft stools, flatulence, heartburn, and a change in taste.
Because of the way is harvested, krill oil is more expensive than fish oil. But isn’t your health is worth the extra cost for krill oil supplements?
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